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Virtual communities of practice (VCoP) are a particular kind of community, offering their members the opportunity to exchange and develop some knowledge and best practices.
This article investigates the motivation factors of participation in virtual communities of practice by using Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory.
Our research is based on the study of a virtual international community called “Educatefor.life”. The main goal of this community of volunteers is redefining what Education means for children and adults, and creating new types of education on the edge of the existing education systems. The key results of this empirical study highlight the importance of the role of autonomy, and connection in the motivation of the participants, as defined in the self-determination theory. We also highlight the importance of other factors, such as the growth and achievement of the members, the size of the community and intensity of exchanges between the members, as well as the role of animation and positive leadership in the motivation and participation of the members in a virtual community.
Keywords: Virtual community of practice; Motivation, Participation; Self-Determination Theory